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  • Some Obama Infomercial Predictions

    Posted by Shannon Love on June 18th, 2009 (All posts by )

    Allow me to make some predictions about how ABC will make sure its Obama infomercial examination of health care issues will be “ informative and fair, thoughtful and thought-provoking.” [h/t Instapundit]

    ABC will frame the entire infomercial in leftist terms. They will use leftist definitions of what is and is not a health-care problem and they will present only leftist solutions to those problems. The “balance” will come when they deign to let non-leftists argue within the bounds that leftists set. 

    It will go something like this:

    (1) The introduction for the infomercial will be run something like, “We are here tonight to discuss America’s health care crisis which leaves millions of American children without health care and threatens America’s economic productivity.” This is a common tactic of left-leaning media. They will define the entire debate from the outset in leftist terms. They won’t question the presumptions that we have a crisis, that the lack of insurance means a lack of health care or that our health-care system threatens our economic competitiveness. From the introduction onward, the “debate” will be over how to best address the issues that leftists feel are important. The closing summation will also restate the issues from the leftist perspective. 

    (2) Any non-leftist perspectives will be introduced only in short refutations of detailed leftist assertions. For example, a leftist will lay out a detailed case that government standardization of medical information technology will significantly decrease health-care costs. The “balance” will be a non-leftist saying, “No it won’t.” 

    (3) In keeping with (1) and (2) there will be no mention of non-leftists’ assertions that our current level of government interventions causes many of the problems we currently see in health care. They will not mention ideas about how our tax policies create a 3rd-party payer system that reduces consumer incentive to shop for price, about insurance mandates make many people pay for coverage they don’t want or need, about how government blocks low-cost alternatives to care or about how excessive testing and liability costs significantly increase the cost of new drugs and technologies. The entire issue will center on how much more government intervention we need. The idea that we need less government intervention in health care won’t even be mentioned. 

    (4) Leftists will be given more airtime overall. Leftists will be given time to present their ideas in their own words whereas non-leftists’ ideas will be presented only in the questions of the moderators/interviewer, e.g., “President Obama, how to respond to those who say…” If any kind of debate format is used, non-leftists will be interrupted and cut off much more often than leftists. 

    Of course, as in most policy debates with leftists, non-leftists will be force to defend the real-world health care system against the leftists’ fantasy health care system

    The most disturbing thing about the whole question of leftist media bias is that the journalists really believe they are trying to be fair. They are so immersed in leftist subculture that they can’t even conceive of debates framed in any other terms than the ones that leftists set. It will never occurs to them that they reveal a profound bias just by the questions they choose to ask. 

    (If I get a chance, I’ll get a copy of the transcript and do an analysis to check for the patterns I predict.)

     

    10 Responses to “Some Obama Infomercial Predictions”

    1. harry.angstrom Says:

      Want a free press? buy one–free market. Let us wait till what takes place takes place and then we can make a fair assessment. We have had a “rightist” health care system for lo these many years, controlled by conservatives fin the service of the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry and it has not done all that well in serving the needs of a lot of folks, as even Ben Stein is willing to acknowledge. So instead of the usual Just Say No, why not offer something positive, something that is a useful alternative instead of the nay Saying and blame it on the govt stuff. When something works, don;t mess with it Health care is not working. I am willing to give a fair hearing to those who claim to be able to offer a solution.

    2. Phil Fraering Says:

      Wow, Medicaire covers about half the market for health care, it sets prices in the process, but it’s the ‘conservative free market’ health care system…

      The regime of employer-paid-for
      “health insurance” was more or less created by FDR during WW2, but the Republicans are going to have to defend it…

      It occurs to me that Mr. Angstrom isn’t doing what Shannon said the liberals would do; we not only have to defend the real-world system against their fantasy system, we also have to ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PREVIOUS FLAWED SYSTEM THE LIBERALS CREATED IN THE FIRST PLACE.

      In another ten years, whatever President Zero creates today will be the “radical republican free market system” we’ll be being conned into defending against whatever even more socialist system the democrats will want to implement by then.

    3. seanf Says:

      Not those damned Leftists again! Why don’t they stay in fantasyland and leave the actual business of governing to pragmatic, hard-headed, fact-driven Republican types.

      After all if experience has any predicative value at all, we can trust conservatives to be sensible, prudent, non-ideological types who wouldn’t run up deficits spending like drunken sailors on shore leave, while loudly proclaiming the virtues of small government. Just like Reagan and GW2. Right. Right?

    4. Donf Says:

      Seanf, Some facts:
      1) Drunken sailors are spending their own money.
      2) When caught stealing Republicans don’t get reelected.
      3) When caught stealing Democrats get promoted because thats what their voters sent them there to do.

    5. Shannon Love Says:

      SeanF,

      Why don’t they stay in fantasyland and leave the actual business of governing to pragmatic, hard-headed, fact-driven Republican types.

      It would be even better is government was kept small and focused so it wouldn’t matter much who was in charge. For health care, it would be better if the government got out of health care decision making altogether. For example, we could replace medicare and similar programs with a voucher program so that people could chose their own medical care instead of having politicians force the choices on them.

      After all if experience has any predicative value at all, we can trust conservatives to be sensible, prudent, non-ideological types who wouldn’t run up deficits spending like drunken sailors on shore leave, while loudly proclaiming the virtues of small government.

      Well, there’s drunken sailors spending their own money and there’s drunken sailors spending someone else’s money. Which is worse? It’s like comparing Texas to California. Texans feel that our current bunch of state government yahoos spend to much but compared California they seem like paragons of restraint.

      If Democrats had a long established pattern keeping spending in line with tax revenues then you might have a point but they don’t. Democrats have no political incentive to lower taxes. They derive to much political power from tax consumers and to little from tax producers. When Democrats get higher revenues from higher taxes they spend it. They don’t even bother to pay lip service to Keynes anymore. When the recession hit, their first impulse was to pull a Herbert Hoover and raise taxes!

      If Democrats were systematically more financially responsible and more intellectually disciplined than Republicans, California and New York would be financially healthy and Texas would have a huge deficit. Instead, we see the opposite pattern. The same is true for all other indications of the economic health of states, internal emigration, unemployment rates etc. Democrats raise taxes while giving people nothing in return except dying communities.

      I would also note you didn’t argue against my main point which was that the ABC broadcast will be subtly but systematically biased in favor of the left.

    6. harry.angstrom Says:

      The earlier system worked just fine–I was part of it. But over the years, costs have made it impossible for workplaces to pay out what they had paid. Now the system needs changes, both for owners and for workers. You have seen companies cut back, yearly, because of rising costs. And the Am. companies no longer can compete unless they cut way back. Solution and not snippiness is needed. Not by chance Obama–yes, the loathed Obama–has won the mandate he won after 8 years of Bush management. And what do we get offered by conservatives? a four page medical plan without figures. and NO NO NO to all else. where is the beef? the solution to our problems? Tired phrases such as the free market, cut taxes etc. But this has not worked and we have a mess on our hands. Again, I will repeat: why not watch the show and then make remarks based upon what has taken place rather than the usual badmouthing pre-show stuff?

    7. Michael Kennedy Says:

      If you want a model for reform, look at the French system. It is the best in Europe and probably the best in the world. Ours is good for those insured but it has a lot of moral hazard built in that we have never solved. That’s why costs are so high.

      People talk about insurance companies without knowing that there has been no health insurance in this country for 40 years. Insurance means a company that collects premiums, invests them and pays claims based on actuary estimates of risk. What you call insurance are actually administrative service organizations which administer claims and collect the costs as premiums. There is no investment. This began when we started to ask “insurance” to pay for care that was not a “loss,” as defined by actuaries, but prepaid care. The beginning was pregnancy. My third child was born in 1969. The hospital bill was about 270 dollars for mother and child with a three day stay. No insurance. My fourth child was born in 1980. The hospital bills was at least ten times the 1969 bill. Insurance paid.

      I have practiced surgery for 30 years, then went back for a degree in health economics at Dartmouth when I retired. What is happening now is a free market trend in medicine as doctors drop out of Medicare and charge cash fees from Medicare patients. The fees are about what Medicare allows. One problem with a mixed private and insurance market is the huge difference between retail prices (50 dollar aspirin tablets) and what insurance actually pays on contracted claims. It’s about 25% of the retail price and sometimes as low as 10%. The cash customer gets screwed but, if doctors or hospitals offer discounts for cash, they will be punished by Medicare and the insurance companies.

      It’s as though the supermarket charged $10 for a loaf of bread but with you “club card” it was only $2. Same principle.

    8. bgates Says:

      We have had a “rightist” health care system for lo these many years, controlled by conservatives fin the service of the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry and it has not done all that well in serving the needs of a lot of folks,
      v
      The earlier system worked just fine

      Harry, why don’t you go argue amongst yourself and come back once you’ve reached an agreement.

    9. Shannon Love Says:

      Harry Anstrom,

      Again, I will repeat: why not watch the show and then make remarks based upon what has taken place rather than the usual badmouthing pre-show stuff?

      I intend to but I can’t very well claim I have an accurate model of media bias if I can’t predict the media’s biased behavior. If I didn’t make predictions, you would just claim I was fitting my model to events post hoc.

      And what do we get offered by conservatives? a four page medical plan without figures. and NO NO NO to all else. where is the beef? the solution to our problems?

      I don’t suppose you know off the top of your head how many non-leftist’s ideas about health care reform have been shot down over the years? There are a lot. Democrats have stubbornly refused to even experiment with any reforms that are not intensely politically managed. Health care savings accounts? Shot down. Letting people deduct health care expenses from taxes? Shot down. Letting people by only coverage they need? Shot down. Mandatory catastrophic insurance? Shot down. And so on…

      You clearly have bought into the fantasy that Democrats are “progressive” and that they bring “new” ideas. In reality, they are regressive who want to take the country back to early 1970’s. Obama doesn’t have a single idea that wasn’t on the table when I was in elementary school. All he can do is ape the solutions that Europe adopted in the 1950’s.

      Watch the special. You’ll see the kind of built in media bias I am talking about.

    10. Bill Waddell Says:

      Having just returned to reality from a week and a half in California where sculpting a perfect body and keeping it that way for eternity is an obsession, I am quite convinced that the biggest driver of escalating health care cost is way, way too much health care. We declare childhood obesity to be a national crisis, we are driven to cure every known disease from hair loss to cancer. Life expectancy is greater than ever, yet we are consumed with a near panic at the knowledge that we won’t live forever.

      It is all well and good to try to eliminate colon cancer, for example, and I being examined every couple of years will contribute to early detection and reduced incidence of colon cancer related deaths – but there is a cost associated with that. We declare mental health problems such as depression to be ‘diseases’, mandate that insurance policies cover treatment of them – then wonder why health care costs are rising.

      Lifestyle driven problems, such as HIV/AIDS that affect a narrow part of the population are national problems that must be researched with tax dollars and paid for by health insurance – and we wonder why health care costs are going up.

      In general, we have become a nation obsessed with our bodies – how we look and how we feel – and are possessed with a manic desire to live forever (which would seem to directly correlate with our eroding spirituality as a nation – there is no heaven – this is it so I have to extend it for every possible minute I can); we look for a pill for everything but complain about the big phamraceutical companies who come up with them; and rush to the doctor for everything – and for nothing- and wonder why the cost of health care is so high.

      Case in point: the recent swine flu “crisis”. It dominated the media for a couple of weeks (nothing gets ratings like a ‘pandemic’), sent everyone with a runny nose to the emergency room, drove national stockpiling of Theraflu, all of us in terror at the prospect of our impending death. How many bucks do you suppose that much ado about nothing event deducted from the GNP for health care costs?

      More health care means more health care cost – a lot more health care means a lot more health care cost – Obsession with health care means major economic problems. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

      To the point of the post, I am sure neither ABC nor Bamo will question whether all of the health care driving the costs is necessary or wise in the first place.